Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Tuesday Art Day: Female Worgen Wish

This Tuesday is going to be a little different, in that it’s just sketches I did quickly. I was doing some idle musing the other day and I started thinking about how disappointed I was with the female worgen. I fully intended to make a worgen when Cataclysm came out. I had two names reserved for the purpose, even (one male, one female). I usually prefer to play female characters, because I just do. I wrote about what happened with my worgen.

Similarly to how I felt about being a moonkin, I just couldn’t get “into” the way the worgen looked. I think the males look pretty good (although not keen on their “running wild” animation), but the females? I started sketching to try to understand and explain what it is that bothers me about them.

Female Worgen (as in-game)

They have these large, heavily-lidded and tilted eyes. Their eyes are looking in different directions, too, much like a Simpsons character. They have a very narrow, “fox-like” face, and a pronounced forehead. Here is what the worgen actually looks like.

What follows is just a series of quick sketches as I tried to work out for myself what I would have preferred (instead of just complaining about what I didn’t like).

adfs

I really think the biggest thing is the eyes. Lose the heavy lids, make them smaller (and a bit closer to the center of the face). I am still not really happy with the face shape here and would probably keep reworking it if I were actually trying to do honest to goodness concept art.

The actual model has its lips pulled back in a permanent snarl, too. I didn't really do that, which is perhaps like cheating.

Overall, I just imagine female worgen being more…wolf-like. Their male counterparts are wholly lupine and it works for them. I feel as if maybe the art team just tried too hard to make them “feminine” looking. The thing is, they’re werewolves. I don’t think you can make them look really feminine (or perhaps you shouldn’t). In any case, their reasonably slender frames and mammalian characteristics make that much obvious. I could see them with more of a wolf’s head instead of the “foxy” look they went for. I know that female worgen gave them the most trouble, as they revamped them completely several times during the beta.

I’ll be honest; I could see female worgen overall with a bit more meat on their bones. I think they may be overly lanky? But that’s a minor gripe. I should mention that I absolutely love their hands. The in-game model has great hands, with the long, claw-like fingers and nails. I thickened her neck (and also her body, giving her a bit of curve). I still don’t know if I am happy with the face, but it was fun to mess around with. Having completed this exercise, I’m still pretty sure it’s their dead eyes that bug me the most. The dog-like muzzle might be fine if the eyes had a bit of life to them, were placed differently and had a different shape.

That’s what I think, anyhow, in my half hour of idle doodling. What do you think? Love worgen the way they are? See them a little bit differently? I have a feeling I am going to keep doing some sketches of them until I can really see them the way I imagine them being. At THAT point I can put a top hat on one.

Tuesday Art Day: Corycia

I’m cheating a bit today with some older art (that I know I haven’t used for a Tuesday art day). This is a postcard sized watercolour I did of my draenei shaman, Corycia, wearing gear she doesn’t own. (I love this shaman set from Burning Crusade!) I have done another watercolour recently that I’d love to post but can’t, because it hasn’t yet been gifted to the surprise recipient! Look for that one coming soon to a Tuesday near you.

Tuesday Art Day: About The Artist

Pre-warning: This post contains a bit of mild art nudity in the form of life-drawing. Don’t read it at work if that would get you into trouble!

Windsoar over at Jaded Alt recently offered some more a-“muse”-ment for interested parties – supplying a blog post idea for bloggers that asked! Here’s the task she gave me:

There’s quite a few things I’d like to ask you to write about, but I think I’ve narrowed it down! I’m sure plenty of your readers are aware of your artistic skills, but I’d like to know more! Is it a hobby or profession, how’d you get started, do you have professional training, and what are your favorite mediums?

I figured it would be only too appropriate to answer this question on Tuesday, the day I usually post art anyhow!

It’s pretty much an artist trope to say “I’ve been drawing since I was able to hold a pencil…” but for most of us it’s true, at least it is in my case! It was always what I wanted to do “when I grew up,” tied with writing. If you’d asked me when I was five what I wanted to be I’d tell you without hesitation that I wanted to write and illustrate my own children’s books. To that end, about a year before I graduated from high school I started assembling a portfolio and sent it off to art college. I was accepted and started there the following September, after moving cities.

The first year at college called for taking a variety of classes and electives before declaring a specialization in second year. I’d initially intended to enter the graphic design Visual Communication major (I think most people intend this because they’ve been told “it’s the only way to make a living.”) I ended up changing my mind, though, and specialized instead in printmaking/print media. Over the course of the next three years I learned techniques related to lithography, relief printing, silkscreen, and etching. I took drawing electives.

Here are a few images from one of the life drawing courses I took. I spent many hours doing life drawing throughout my four years! Usually we’d work for six hours a week and six hours at home for the duration of a semester.

(note: I seem to fail at slideshows, though, and this slideshow and the later one contain all the images in the entire post. I compromised by making it a gallery instead!)

At the end of this particular course, we all went to the long, concrete hallway that led to the train station and had to pin up all of our work from the semester. Every piece! There’s pastel, charcoal, brush and ink, conté, ballpoint pen, acrylic paint, and ink pen here. It’s funny because I can look at it now and see flaws but there are still some pieces where I think, “Hey, I really captured something there.” I’m not sure if the photos really show much detail, or if they just mostly show that it’s a lot of drawings.

Contrary to popular opinion, art college was long hours and hard work (I loved it, but don’t ever try and suggest I’m a slacker because I went there!) I could have gotten a degree in other things, I’ve no doubt, but I never regret my art degree.

After college I worked in a few unrelated jobs before leaving them to try and make it as a freelancer. Of course, you’ve all seen my WoW-related art.

I suppose it's self-explanatory, but this is from drawings done one Christmas at my parents' house.

I also draw in my sketchbook (usually with black Pigma Pens, 0.5 thankyouverymuch). Apart from character-related commissions and blog banners, I have als0 had one major project illustrating a reading program for young children. I can’t link you to the program because it has my real name all over it, but here’s an image from it. I worked on this contract for the better part of a year.

Cake: T or F?

That beagle destroyed the cake his owner had so lovingly made. This, incidentally, is something that happened in real life to me – except the cake in question was baked by my friend that had brought it over, and covered in chocolate mousse that my dog lovingly cleaned off. The resulting cake looked pristine, as if it had never been iced, and oddly tempting. The dog was hyper for the rest of the night (but otherwise unharmed). But I’m digressing! I’m meant to answer the first question, here. Yes, I do illustration/art professionally, and am professionally trained! My major was pretty multi-disciplinary despite being print focused. Once I graduated I did very little actual “print” work, continuing in various mediums, which is good because it’s hard to fit a litho press in one’s basement.

When we redid our basement, though, I did set up a room especially for purposes of serving as a studio. Most of my work now is digital and done on my Cintiq and so actually doesn’t take place here. But I still HAVE here, even if it’s not this neat anymore.

Oh, for a studio this pristine again...

The walls have been painted with magnetic paint and I use tiny, very strong magnets from Lee Valley on them! (You put one magnet behind a piece of paper and one in front, they stick together and you have a mobile gallery. There’s a lithograph pinned up here, actually, although you can’t really see it in detail. The stuff in the center is just part of my postcard collection; I didn’t actually draw or paint those.

Windsoar also asked if I have a favourite medium. Of course, I love digital painting.

Here is a painting actually done FOR Windsoar as a gift for her husband. I thought it would be appropriate.

When it comes to getting my hands dirty, though, I am crazy about watercolour.

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I tend to do postcard-sized watercolours because I can do them most anywhere. Other than that, most of my drawing is done in sketchbooks with aforementioned ink pens (pencil is too cautious for me! No guts, no glory! If it turns out wrong, just draw over it or draw it again!)

I think that’s a decent, if disjointed history of my art career. It’s a living I love; I wouldn’t change it for the world! Thanks again to Windsoar for asking and giving me the topic to write about. Feel free to ask me any questions on this most self-indulgent post, and I’ll do my best to answer them if I’m able.

Tuesday Art Day: Gnomes Ahoy

I dug back a bit into my art archives to find something for this Tuesday. These are gnomes I did for Technophobia (on Twitter) back in December. They are all his gnomes: Curacao, Calsyee, Priggle, Kamarile and Chipotle. They’re all related! I don’t do much gnome art, so they were fun to draw.

So many gnomes!

Tuesday Art Day: Morgion

This is a quick drawing I did for Rades. It’s so wrong that it just might be right. The character of course belongs to him, I just borrowed her briefly.

Longer than the average cloak or cape.

I pretty much just slapped the colour on there, so forgive it for being a bit rough, and likewise the background was a late addition. Drawing things cute that were never meant to be cute is kind of fun.

Tuesday Art Day: Shaedre

Sometimes art day is a drawing, sometimes it’s a teeny druid made out of Sculpey. Today is the latter!

Shaedre is my druid, once a main, now an alt – once a character I roleplayed, now one I just think of fondly. Her hair has an assortment of different junk in it at any given moment.Weaving her braids was fun, and she’s probably the most complicated Sculpey figurine I’ve made to date. Edited to add: You’ll notice some of these photos have Easter eggs in them! They were part of my participation in the Great Blog Noblegarden Egg Hunt. The original images are the ones without.

Her face is an emoticon; this one. :D

Look, she is festive!

From this angle you can see some of her hair ribbons.

A few other miscellaneous things for this Tuesday – I’ve been extremely gratified overall by the response to my post the other day. If you visit the comments there are quite a few pingbacks and people have been sharing their new blog finds. It’s very exciting and my feedreader is going to be expanding over the next few days for sure!

Secondly, I occasionally use this space as a way of promoting my guild a bit and it’s that time again. We found a great holy paladin back in February, he’s settled into the guild quite nicely – but now our Death Knight tank has been pulled away from raiding by real-life. So we are recruiting again! We’d like another DK tank if at all possible but would also give consideration to a druid, paladin, or even a warrior (although a warrior would be a bit more complicated).

If you or anyone you know is looking for a great tens guild, we raid Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 6-9 PM PST. We’re currently 2/13 heroic mode encounters and we’re so close on Maloriak we can taste it. (Tastes kind of sludgey, actually).

You can read our recruitment thread here, or visit our guild website here. Feel free to ask any questions either on the blog or you can poke me on Twitter (@_vidyala) or via e-mail. Thanks!

Tuesday Art Day: Gnomercy

I can’t resist a gnome pun!

I'm not actually sure if troll blood is red.

This was a watercolour, post-card sized image commissioned by Jed for his wife. I had to keep it under my hat until he’d actually given the gift, lest I spoil the surprise! He talks about it here, but I realized I’d never put it up on my own blog. I felt quite gleefully that such retribution was called for after Liala at Disciplinary Action made this comic. I may or may not have linked it before, I can’t remember, and I’m not still bitter really except this is what happens when you kill my people. Small, gnomish death rays.

Tuesday Art Day: More Draenei (Unsurprisingly)

An art Tuesday is a pretty easy post for me to do, because I’ve usually got a few things kicking around that haven’t been posted here. Although if you happen to follow me on Twitter you may have seen this.

A few weeks ago I got my Cintiq and bought Corel Painter to go along with it. Consequently I’ve been playing around with that a bit and just painting whatever took my fancy. Here’s my response to the question, “What would a draenei wedding dress look like?”

Of course I don’t know if this would be traditional so much as “What I think my own specific character would wear.” I think purple (classic draenic, natch) – pretty modest but  with plenty of jewelery and other ornamentation. I’m not a fashion designer but I’m happy enough with this – along with a bouquet of Dreaming Glory to top it all off.

If you don’t like draenei (what’s wrong with you?) what do you think your favourite race would wear to their nuptials/racial equivalent?

Yes, including hoof-shoes. Why not?

Tuesday Art Day: Third Dimension

I have a bit of a twist for art day this week with some Sculpey I was playing around with months and months ago. I took the photos and just never posted it!

"What about THE FANGS?" That's from an Ellen stand-up routine. +10 geek points if you have any idea what I'm talking about!

This is a small Millya, she sits on my desk and keeps me company during raids.

I may sculpt these things just as an excuse to make little hooves.

She is right next to mini-Vidyala, once posted on Pugging Pally but I don’t think I’ve used it here. I wanted to try using coloured Sculpey instead of the all-one-colour kind because my results with painting that stuff before hadn’t worked out very well. Painting three-dimensional things is not my strong suit. I also burnt mini-Vid’s horns, something I managed to avoid with the coloured Sculpey.

And neck tentacles, those are fun to make too.

Finally, I used to get really fun and weird search terms, but almost all of my search terms now tend to be practical ones (looking for a mage gear guide, heroic guides, etc.) Here are three I feel I can actually answer from the last week or so.

What spec should a mage be when running heroics in cataclysm?

There’s no specific spec you should be, really. Play a spec that you enjoy. I haven’t played Arcane at all in Cata but it is a very strong, single target burst spec that will serve you well for single-targeting down anything in packs. I personally run as fire in heroics (as I do in raids) because extreme familiarity with a spec is generally beneficial when you move from five to ten or twenty-five or whatever. If you have muscle memory for what to do on a boss in a five man, you probably will also know what to do when the boss is bigger (and has more loot).

Fire carries some inherent risks because Living Bomb can potentially explode and break CC, so watch what you’re doing there. Truthfully, in all the guild heroics we do we’re doing a lot of AoE now and so Fire is awesome for that. I wouldn’t assume that is the case with any pugs, though. Flame Orb has also been changed to not break Polymorph any more (but it will still break other CC effects). Frost is a solid choice for heroics as well, you get quite a bit of passive damage mitigation and it also has incredible burst. On any given boss fight if I’m running with my fellow mage (he plays Frost) he starts out ridiculously ahead of me (damn you, Deep Freeze!) but it usually evens out after my ramp-up time. Actually, he still beats me – he’s very good.

your thoughts on scorch weaving as a fire mage

It was very necessary at lower gear levels, and is starting to be less necessary (especially with additional upcoming changes in 4.0.6). You can see this section about mana management at EJ for more details. Ideally you are managing your top DPS rotation to coincide with Molten Fury at a minimum, or any other burn phases (Magmaw’s exposed pincers, etc.) I have found that since my gear has improved – and taking into account necessary movement components of a fight where I will be scorching in any case – I don’t run OOM anymore and can maintain a straight-up Fireball rotation for most of the time. How much scorch weaving you are obliged to do is going to depend on your gear level, your mana, and how long the fight is going on (average DPS of your raid).

why are mages so bad in cataclysm

I’m sorry, it’s not us – it’s you. We are awesome, as usual.

Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday Art Day: More Mini-Sketches

You might remember on my anniversary post I was giving away freebies, of sorts. Here are some that didn’t make it into the first batch or that I’ve finished since! If you requested one and I’ve missed you, maybe you could call my attention to it? I had folks who wanted one but didn’t share an armory link and I’ve gotten a bit confused keeping the comments all straight.

Anyway, mini-sketches, 5-minutes each, you know the drill.

In somewhat related news, you can see the gentlemanly murloc I did for Zelmaru over at Murloc Parliament and check out her snazzy new layout while you’re at it!

Rades and Beru each wrote posts that were tear-jerkers for different reasons – Beru’s a moving story of success, Rades’ a lament for a lost friend.

Also, my friend Liala featured me in her comic, Disciplinary Action – after I complained that there was a serious lack of draenei representation. She set out to teach me that the cliche is true – you really do have to be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

There’s no patch tomorrow, unfortunately. I’ve never anticipated a patch quite so eagerly – I really want those new meta gems. How about you, are you looking forward to the patch for any reason or wish it wouldn’t come? Voss observed cheerfully, “Well, that just means I get another week of being OP!” He has a way of looking on the bright side.

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